Lions expected to pick up option on Ansah contract

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Ziggy Ansah

It should come as no surprise because he might be their best player, but the Lions are expected to pick up the fifth-year option on Ziggy Ansah's rookie contract.

As part of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement from 2011, rookie contracts are four years, and first-round picks have an option for a fifth year. Teams have to file their decision with regard to the option by May 3 of the year prior to the option year.

The 2016 season will be Ansah’s fourth in the NFL. His option year deal will become guaranteed on the first day of the 2017 league year.

Ansah's fifth will cost about $13 million, but in a market where defensive end Olivier Vernon received a contract worth an average of $17 million per year from the New York Giants, Ansah is well worth that price.

The fifth overall pick in 2013, Ansah blossomed into one of the NFL's top pass rushers in 2015 with a career-high 14.5 sacks.

The Lions are in no rush to work on an extension with Ansah because they can control his rights through the 2018 season, including the fifth-year option in 2017 and possibility of the franchise tag in 2018. The franchise tag for defensive ends in 2016 is worth $15.7 million, and it will rise a bit by the time Ansah is eligible.

However, the Lions could try to work out an extension with Ansah in advance of using the tag next year, but for now, no extension is in the works due to the fifth-year option.

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